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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

Interested in intercultural communication and/or diversity management? In the mood for a Tandem-partner or looking for someone willing to learn Spanish with you? Desperately seeking an enthusiastic dance partner for salsa, bachata, swing or charleston?
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Friday, July 16, 2010

What if shock advertising would show what we don't want to see? Are you in?

After having the impression that everything has been already seen, showed, tried, experienced, and consumed... 
What can still shock the consumers and the audience?
Shock advertising is usually the answer. The answer most marketers are going to give.

[Domestic violence for a coffee, anyone?
Shock advertising is usually related to a specific culture and time:
what is shocking or gross now, 
could have been socially accepted in the past and viceversa]

What do you think about shock advertising? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or inspired?
Do you find some advertising campaigns interesting, original, funny, ironic? Are they pure genius and are able to start a conversation or are they just gross and unpleasant?

[Advertising promoted by IndyAct.Org
for the "Stop the Carnage" campaign]

Even if not always, I have overall a good opinion about very aggressive advertising campaigns because they force people to reflect on topics and subjects too often forgotten, such domestic violence, children abuse, racism, discrimination, organ donation, endangered species, human and animal rights, pollution and so on.

One of my favorite campaigns ever is a frightful portrait of a French anorexic girl created a couple of years ago by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani:

[No-l-ita advertising campaign by Oliviero Toscani]

Unforgettable, don't you think?
Unfortunately, it's not a photo-manipulated image. No Photoshop here, just the nightmare of an anorexic girl and her terribly thin, almost inhuman body and her desire to become even thinner and maybe to vanish for good.

At the time of the photo shooting, this picture has provoked a big scandal in Italy. However, in my opinion, the real scandal is anorexia, not showing it.
What do you think?

Tags: Shock advertising, Marketing, Forgotten topics, Anorexia, No-l-ita, Photography, Oliviero Toscani

What to read next:
'Position, Promotion, Placement and Price' are the famous four P of traditional marketing. How many of them do you need in your relationships?


  1. I'm not a priori against shocking the viewer, but have a preference for ads where WORDS are shocking and punching instead. Certain images can be so disturbing that you don't even look at them...

    (was trying to find an example - a campaign about road accidents - where the simple inversion of name and adjective produced the effect to stop and shock you).

  2. I can understand your point of view.
    I've seen some interesting schock advertising campaigns made with symbols and numbers.

    If you could find this example, I would like to see it!